The worst day of my life.

A bold statement. A statement with no added salt or any pinch of irony. This blog is primarily for self-development and positive things, however, some time’s there is a sprinkle of negativity.

Scratching the semi light-hearted intro to one side. I’d like to take a moment to tell a story. I write this story to vent it. I write this story so it’s not in my mind. I write this story and leave it here so it no longer haunts me. The worst day of my life.

14th of February 2018, Valentine’s day. I’m dressed sharp, my hairs looking slick, I’ve been working out a tone lately so I’d say I was looking pretty jacked and I’m ready for the date. I jump in the car cruising, no music playing because I need my concentration. It doesn’t matter how hard I focus; this isn’t the date I wanted.

I walk in my grandmother house, my mother and father in tow. I cling on to my Nan, embrace her. I give my grandfather the stern handshake I’ve given him for years. I greet my aunts and uncles with my usual love and respect and we all compliment each other on how smart we all look. It’s hard not to look smart in black.

The funeral cars pull up in the driveway and everyone tenses up like cats in a dogfight. It’s 2:00pm and everyone finishes there Dutch courage with trembling hands. A wave of emotion comes over us all and you can see the vacant stares on everyone’s faces, only shattered by inane comments to speed time up.

The conversation is fairly positive in the limo. We are all talking and trying to find some humor in a terrible situation. My cousins brought beer in her handbag and it’s taking the edge off.  We arrive at the church my grandparents look frail and beaten, my mother trying to hold back the tears. I clutch my nans’ hands and my mother on the other and carry them into the church.

150 minimum id say. Maybe even 200 people fill the stands and watch my family and I walk up to the best sets in the house. We are seated and I get the pleasure of sitting on the aisle seat. Moments later the coffin is laid next to me. And there you are, Aunty Jo. Our Jo. Dead in a box and my heart breaks into a million pieces.

It’s a beautiful ceremony, bittersweet. I give a reading from the bible to open the show. Friends get up and give beautifully written speeches about your life. Cousin Georgina wrote a song, played guitar and performed it live. I’m sitting next to my other Aunty and my mother and we look for each other in constant reassurance. Nan and Granddad are broken, this is the second child they have buried.

The ceremony is over and we make our ways to the cars. I escort my Nan and Mother whilst they ball their eyes out in front of the crowds. I gulp down every emotion to try and stay strong. We enter the car and dry our tears, talk about what a beautiful ceremony it is and crack a few more bears to take the edge off. The days not over.

At the crematorium, the crowds gather and we are treated to another hour-long ceremony celebrating Jo’s life. She’s there in the coffin in front of us. All we can do is stare. 3 Songs play throughout the ceremony, all tear jerkers, I dare to never listen to them again. More nice words are said and everyone begins to look more broken than before. The rain clouds appear.

The family is asked to bless her coffin. We oblige, not only with water but with tears. It’s over and were asked to leave, my Nan clutches onto the coffin and bursts into tears. My mother follows and does the same. Nan just utters the words “Can we take her with us” she just repeats those words as she sobs. The whole family clutches onto the coffin and time passes. We pull her away and say goodbye.

The wake is Nice. It’s strange but nice. It’s held at a well known local wedding venue and my uncle had sprung for gourmet food. Everyone’s drinking and talking about Jo. There are pictures of her everywhere and it’s the first time in a long time people aren’t crying. There celebrating. Celebrating Aunty Jo.

It’s 11:00pm and we are all back at Nans. Drinks have been flowing all day and it’s time for us all to rest. We all hug and say our goodbyes. My Mum hugs my Nan and bursts into tears. They both hold each other in agony and the rest of the room can’t look. Nan just keeps repeating “My Janet, My Janet, please don’t leave me my Janet.” It goes on forever.

I’m at home with my mother and father and there is silence in the air. Mums shaking like a newborn lamb and Dad stares at the floor. In the living room, she falls to the ground and breaks one last time. She whales and screams. She punches the ground with fury. She sound’s like a dying animal just repeating the words “Jo sister, Jo sister, Jo sister.” It goes on forever.

No amount of comfort makes it any better. No wise words can console her. Nothing can change what is done.

This was truly the worst day of my life in recent years. No amount of heartbreaks, fuck-ups, traumas compare to watching my mother, nan and the rest of my family in so much pain. Seeing so many twisted faces of those you love. Saying this isn’t to detract from others peoples pain. This was my pain, the most pain I’ve ever felt as an adult.

Death is the unfortunate gift of life. We fear it because we don’t understand it. We can pretend but we never really do. All we can do is except is as an inevitability. Saying this though we can’t let it consume our lives. To let it consume us is to give the sense of ego what it wants to toy with us and keep us down. We have to move forward. We have to remember the only the good and remember that this is Now and that was then.

Jo was a truly beautiful woman with an amazing soul. An Artist, a Nurse, A teacher. Her life will live on through mine and my family memories and for that reason, she will never truly be gone. She is back with the universe now. No one ever really dies.

I love you Aunty Jo. Rest in peace.

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